What is this medication?

TOCILIZUMAB (TOE si LIZ ue mab) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It may also be used to treat giant cell arteritis, cytokine release syndrome, and to slow a decrease in lung function for patients with systemic sclerosis-related lung disease.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Actemra

What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

How should I use this medication?

This medicine is injected into a vein or under the skin. It is usually given by a health care provider in a hospital or clinic setting. If you get this medicine at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give it. Use exactly as directed. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Keep taking it unless your health care provider tells you to stop.

If you use a pen, be sure to take off the outer needle cover before using the dose.

It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or health care provider to get one.

A special MedGuide will be given to you before each treatment or by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your health care provider regarding the use of this medicine in children. While the drug may be prescribed for children as young as 2 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your health care provider if you are unable to keep an appointment.

If you give yourself the medicine at home and you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses. Call your health care provider with questions.

What may interact with this medication?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

What should I watch for while using this medication?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. Tell your health care provider if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.

You will be tested for tuberculosis (TB) before you start this medicine. If your doctor prescribes any medicine for TB, you should start taking the TB medicine before starting this medicine. Make sure to finish the full course of TB medicine.

This medicine may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your health care provider for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

Talk to your health care provider about your risk of cancer. You may be more at risk for certain types of cancers if you take this medicine.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

tears in the stomach or intestines (fever; stomach pain; sudden change in bowel habits)

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

If you are using this medicine at home, you will be instructed on how to store this medicine. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date on the label.

To get rid of medicines that are no longer needed or have expired:

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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